Apple Music “Remove Downloads” vs. “Delete from Library”

If you are presented with two options between “Remove Downloads” and “Delete from Library” please understand the difference between the two before choosing an option. 

Difference between “Delete from Library” and “Remove Download”

Removing a song from your Apple Music library is easy. 

If the song you’re deleting is downloaded on your device, you’ll have two options: “Remove Downloads” and “Delete from Library”. Here’s what each of them means:

Remove Downloads will remove the music files from your device but will leave the song in your library. The song will no longer be available offline but remains part of your collection.

It’s a quick method to bulk-remove songs from your phone.

Delete from Library will remove the song from your Apple Music account entirely. However, whatever music files you’ve already downloaded will remain on your device.

Be careful when choosing this option.

Once a song or a playlist has been deleted from your library, you will need to search Apple Music and find the song or playlist in order to re-add or redownload them into your library.

Does “Remove Downloads” keeps songs in the library?

“Remove Downloads” will remove the song from your device, but it will remain in your Apple Music library. You can’t listen to the song offline but it’s still part of your music collection.

Does “Delete from Library” remove downloads?

“Delete from Library” will not remove downloads. It will remove the song from your Apple Music account entirely, but whatever music files you’ve downloaded will remain on your device.

Can you “Delete from Library” but keep in playlist?

Unfortunately, you cannot delete a song from your library but keep it in a playlist. “Delete from Library” implies that the song is removed from your entire Apple Music library.

Is it better to “Remove Downloads” or “Delete from Library”?

If you’re looking to clear up storage space from your device, it is better to “Remove Downloads”. Choosing this option will delete all music files stored on your device.

However, if you want to remove the song from your Apple Music account entirely, choose “Delete from Library”. Choosing this option will still take up space on your device.

Keep in mind that the option “Remove Downloads” will only be presented to you if the song is available for offline listening, otherwise you will only get the “Delete from Library” option.

What if there is a duplicate song or playlist?

For example, you have a playlist that you sync between Apple Music on iPhone and MacBook. If you see a duplicate playlist and you want to delete it from your iPhone, what do you do?

In that case, you should “Delete from Library” if you are certain the playlist is a duplicate.

Any downloaded songs from Apple Music will stay on the iPhone as part of the original playlist, but the second playlist (that is the duplicate) will disappear from your entire music library.

I personally think that the options “Remove Downloads” and “Delete from Library” are named incorrectly. Whenever I get these two options, it always confuses me for a split second.

It would make so much more sense to “delete” a download (actually deleting a real music file) and to “remove” something from a playlist, wouldn’t you think so? 

Is “Add to Library” the same as downloading?

“Add to Library” will add the song to your Apple Music library, but you will still need an internet connection to listen to it. Downloading a song is saving the file to your device for offline listening.

Adding a song or a playlist to your library allows it to be viewable in the list of songs you have across all of your devices, as long as they are signed in with your Apple ID.

Downloading a song or a playlist allows you to play them without an internet connection because the music files have been saved locally on your device (iPhone or MacBook).  

Once you’ve downloaded a song, you can “Delete from Library” from your Apple Music library, but the music file will still be stored on your device unless you delete the download. 

Related articles:

Scroll to Top